Trusting In Advance What Makes Sense In Reverse
I spent this past week on a much-needed study leave---squirreled away alone in a house in the Hill Country of Texas.
I needed to do some thinking, some resting, and also to work on finally taking some of the hundreds of Devos I've written over the past five years and turn them into a book.
I'm hoping by the first of the year to be able to make the announcement that a 365-day daily devotion book (including daily prayers) will be ready for release.
The Daily Devo started as an idea that my wife put in my head many years ago when she told me that I ought to start writing and publishing every day because she thought that I might actually have something worth sharing.
I decided then to test it out a bit during an important sermon series where I wanted to include additional teaching that didn't make it into the sermons. The reviews were great, but it was a lot of work, so I decided not to continue.
Then my communications director began to implore me to start doing a daily devotion, and she didn't stop. Between both her and my wife encouraging me, I decided to give it a try... just for a while.
And a little over five years later, here we are.
It's been an amazing experience to wake up every day and share my thoughts, my feelings, my ideas, and ramblings with all of you. And there have been times when your presence has been the thing that got me up and writing. Thank you.
I'm sharing all of this today because I read this quote by Philip Yancy this week and I've been thinking about it ever since. He wrote:
Faith is trusting in advance what only makes sense in reverse
My experience with writing the Daily Devo was an exercise in this definition of faith. When I began writing it, I had just a few subscribers, and it felt like a lot of work without a lot of pay off. The audience grew, of course, and continues to grow. But I needed to learn a bigger lesson.
You see, what makes sense in reverse is just how much I needed to write---whether anyone read it or not.
I can see it so clearly now, but I had no idea when I started just how much it would mean to me personally... to my spiritual growth... my emotional well-being... and to my faith.
Sharing with you all (nearly) every day has helped keep me grounded, taught me about community, and given me the unique opportunity to reflect every single day on what God is doing all around us.
None of us can see all that well into the future. Even when we think we can start to make it out a bit, our vision tends to be clouded by our own fears, our feelings of inadequacy, the uncertainty of our world.
And this is why we need to have the courage to step forward in faith when we have a chance to do something that might bring Shalom to the world---even if it scares us... even if we think we can't.
We need to be willing to trust in advance that whatever God is inviting us into right now will not only make sense when we look back on it but that it very well could become a defining moment for us, personally.
If you are feeling right now that you are being given an invitation to live beyond yourself, to overcome your fears and do something that scares you... If you are feeling called to join God in what God is doing to bring justice, mercy, peace, and love to the world...
Don't be afraid. Have faith. Step forward. It may be the very thing that saves your life, and maybe even the world.
May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.